A fan on one of the Simple Minds fan groups on Facebook decided to put their head above the parapet and share their opinion on the Street Fighting Years tour, due to many fans having fond memories of the Roundhay gig in 1989.
I was not one of those fans. As you may already know (if you are a fellow fan who knows me, or a regular visitor to the blog), Simple Minds were off my radar then. I mean, I was aware of Belfast Child, and liked it, but I wasn’t really seeking out their music then.
For many fans, Street Fighting Years and the Roundhay gig was their first exposure to Simple Minds, so it would be deemed a very special thing to them. But I could see that other fans’ point. But I also see that people have their own likes, values and special memories.
I know NO ONE will get what Wonderful In Young Life means to me. Not even Jim, I suspect. He’s no doubt as perplexed about it as most fans are. Few have such an obscure track as a favourite, but I appreciate those fans that do (have more obscure tracks as favourites), even if I don’t agree with their choices. Give me a fan of Saturday Girl ANY DAY over a fan of Don’t You!
Some of my bias is going to come to the fore with this piece, and it’s usually something I don’t discuss. My taste is my taste. I don’t tell other people what they should like and would expect the same courtesy. But I *do* question what some people like sometimes! Lol. It’s only natural. The human condition. But I never think that they SHOULDN’T like it.
To elaborate on what I said about preferring a fan of Saturday Girl over a fan of Don’t You. It’s about dedication. Now, as songs, I prefer Don’t You over Saturday Girl…in a strict musical sense. (I hate doing this, but here goes…) I find Saturday Girl schmaltzy, syrupy and I don’t like Jim’s vocal style on it (THERE! I’ve said it!). I don’t dislike it so much as to not be able to listen to it at all, but I don’t listen to it often, and I certainly don’t seek it out! On the flip side, I avoid Don’t You like the plague! It has been OVERPLAYED TO DEATH. I can tolerate it at gigs. It’s a bit of light entertainment with the sing-a-long and all. I honestly don’t know how Jim breathes that much enthusiasm into it still! I guess one thought of Villa Angela does the trick.
But this is where the thing lies for me. This is why I’d prefer a Saturday Girl fan over a Don’t You fan. The SG fan is probably what I would deem a “truer” fan of the band than the DYFAM fan. A DYFAM fan is more often than not going to be a casual fan…to be kind to them. I would seriously have to question a fan’s dedication if their fave SM song was Don’t You (because, let’s be frank here – it isn’t even a Simple Minds song! They merely perform it).
Now, I’m sure I look like I HATE Don’t You. Lol. But I really don’t. The only real problem I have with it is that it has been overplayed. I’m tired of it, and I am also tired of Simple Minds only sticking in peoples’ memories because of it! A wonderful catalogue. Amazingly crafted songs, wonderful lyrics (you guys know how I feel about Jim Kerr as a lyricist) and yet they remain most well known for a song they didn’t write that while, yes, iconic and is good, quite good…is not as good as many of their OWN compositions (IMHO).
So, as much as I dislike Saturday Girl, a Saturday Girl fan is preferable to me because the song they love *is* a Minds composition, and the fan sought it out (the song being a B side to This Is Your Land).
And so, that brings me back to my point. Roundhay and the SFY tour. Now that I have gone and done the one thing I usually don’t do…I never see the point in negatives.
We all love and hate different things. Variety! It really is the spice of life. The things that I dislike (I can’t even bring myself to say the word “hate”, as it’s much too strong!) in the Minds catalogue perplex me (I’m not perplexed by my dislike OF them…but that they…exist)…but the things I love of SM would no doubt perplex those who like the things I loathe.
I really don’t see the point of “Ooh, I don’t like that!”, or “I wouldn’t have put that there”, etc, etc. Esp. once a record is made. What? The band are going to go back in the studio and change it for you? They’ll put a different version of the album out for you, with the song you don’t like not on there? Nope! And just because YOU don’t like it, doesn’t mean others will/won’t…whatever. My point is…I don’t CARE what you don’t like! I care about what you LIKE! If you like EVERYTHING…I’d be concerned. If you liked NOTHING…why ARE you a fan, exactly? But what you like is important. What you like tells me more about you (to me) than what you don’t like. And if you like things that I don’t like…fine 🙂 It’s fine. We like different things. I’m sure there’d be some common ground somewhere…we *are* Simple Minds fans after all :-))
And now…as an excersice in catharsis – I am actually going to say what I don’t like in the SM catalogue (here goes, Jim – CLOSE YOUR EYES!).
Least favourite album – Live In The City Of Light. I got it as part of job lot of SM collectables on eBay last year. I didn’t want to keep it. Before I had the copy, I listened to LITCOL on Spotify. It was a BIG NO for me. Before I decided to give my vinyl copy away, I thought I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and another listen. I no longer have my vinyl copy! The album is overproduced…arrangements of the songs are awful and over pompous. In no way the live experience they give you now when you get live recordings. Nor anything like the FANTASTIC bootlegs that kick about from the early gigs. True *live* experiences, full of atmosphere and boys on their apex. But this is just my opinion.
Least favourite studio album – Street Fighting Years/Real Life/Cry/Neon Lights. These four get the least play from me. All of them have exceptions. With SFY it’s Soul Crying Out, Wall Of Love and Kick It In. With Real Life it’s Woman, Stand By Love and Let The Children Speak. Cry it is OBVIOUSLY Spaceface, but also Disconnected, Sleeping Girl and The Floating World and with Neon Lights it’s The Man Who Sold The World (mostly for Charlie’s AMAZING Ronno impression on guitar – Jim’s vocal is good too minus the stuff up on the lyrics! Cannot forgive!) and Dancing Barefoot. Other songs I have to avoid (more on that in a moment). As for the reasons? SFY/Real Life – overblown, pompous. Cry – a bit too…”trendy” but I really have not played it that much to be honest. I might be being harsh. It’s not on Spotify, so I just don’t seek it out. I *do* own a copy…just…I never play it much. But I will play it a few times in the next week and see if this changes my opinion. Neon Lights – it’s covers, innit? And rarely covers are bettered by the original. Well, that’s probably not true. There’s probably LOADS of covers I’m not even AWARE are covers and so I’d lose my argument. But in this case…little is gained from the boys doing these. They are…adequate. Some are good (TMWSTW for example). But on the whole, it offers little.
Least favourite songs – PYAM – but the awful, awful LITCOL version (I love the original studio version and mixes). I want it BURNED! I abhor it with a passion I rarely have on the dislike scale! The arragement. The production. Just, no. No, no, no!!! As soon as I hear that “OOH OOH, there’s only one love!” Just…OFF!!! Real Life…opening chords…as soon as I hear them, off!!! Street Fighting Years…opening chords sound like Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay…nope! Just…too…earnest. I know about the subject matter, and I feel AWFUL for saying this…but I just…sorry. Lazy Lately…just…it grates. I dunno why.
So there you have it. I was hoping that doing this would somehow feel cleansing…like…”ah, no more pretending, it’s out there”. But I feel fucking awful! That was horrible! It’s all just my personal opinion and feeling with these songs and albums. It doesn’t mean I’m right or whatever. And I know for a LOT of people, the albums I dislike are their faves. And, good for them! They get much more out of them than I do. And their least favourite album is probably Empires And Dance, and their least favourite song is probably Wonderful In Young Life and that is all good.
Our individual tastes are what make us unique and who we are 🙂